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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Paleo Diet?

It's hard to say just what it was, but one thing for sure: it contained plenty of sugar in all that fruit:

"IF we want to return to our ancestral diets, the ones we ate when most of the features of our guts were evolving, we might reasonably eat what our ancestors spent the most time eating during the largest periods of the evolution of our guts. If that is the case, we need to be eating fruits, nuts, and vegetables—especially fungus-covered tropical leaves... So, what should we eat? On its own, the past itself does not reveal a simple answer, ever."

(Hat tip: Jim Henley.)

4 comments:

  1. You know what this looks like? The author went to a paleo forum and wrote down one of the many arguments that has been had within the community. He missed quite a few things, sadly, and the things he seems to assume are shocking- like insects being a big part of the diet- aren't shocking to people who've been reading up on this, and it tends to point out he knew the title was a lie. The diets are varied- humans in the Great Plains ate a lot differently than someone in the tropics. The key is to use the evolutionary template as a way to set up your experiment. Additionally, if there is actually a problem with blood sugar/insulin, his rather aimless advice will be detrimental- and people who go on diets in the first place tend to be the sort of people who have these issues.

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    1. "You know what this looks like?"

      Someone who is *actually a scientist* talking about what our ancestors ate?

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    2. I just don't see how his sciency nature has anything to do with my point. I've seen good work done by scientists; I've also seen some pretty good work done by mere bloggers. I've seen bad work done by all. Then there is the work I don't know if it is good or not- that's when the bio-chem vocabulary overwhelms me and I give up, at least until I become independently wealthy and can devote all of my time learning whatever it is I happen to want to know rather than working. The article might as well have been phoned in, and my main beef with it (the title) was probably slapped on it by an editor desperate for the extra traffic a controversy would generate. An anthropologist might be a better scientist to talk to by the way- this guy didn't even mention cooking.

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  2. I'd like to be the one to say that there is no such thing as *the* paleo diet, rather there are many "diets" that happened to fall within the paleo era. No anthropologist would make the statement that paleo man wasn't an omnivore, or that he sustained himself on a strictly vegan diet (note: vegan is not vegetarian). The fact is that many considerations come into play such as culture, chance, experimentation, geographic region, personal tastes, genetic variations, climate, availability, etc. Essentially, it would be stupid to say that paleo man *only* ate such and such, because there obviously is no singular paleo man.

    What the "scientist" says is true, though I do believe that he left a great many other foods out. It is generally accepted in the field of anthropology that man's large brain and relatively small digestive system is due to our omnivorous diet. It is true that many cultures have been entirely vegetarian, but one cannot say with complete surety that these peoples did not eat any animal products (i.e. they may have been vegetarian, but certainly not vegan). Eggs, left over brain material, bone marrow and other sinews were taken advantage of when the chance arose just like that of any other food; be it a coconut, a leafy plant, or a plum.

    I don't think that those on the "paleo diet" side of things have ever stood up and said that the past is the only consideration, at least not those who are credentialed. Sure, you may get a person who subscribes to such a diet speaking out of their ass, but that is a different story. Ultimately, there are far more variables at play, and no scientist would be worth his salt if he didn't take that into account.

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